RPN is expanding community conservation programs to Western Nepal. The mountain forests located outside of protected areas in this region constitute more than half of the habitat available to red pandas in Nepal. The Jumla, Jajarkot and Kalikot districts, in particular, have red panda habitat fragmented into many small patches, which are unlikely to support a viable population if connectivity is not maintained. Therefore, protecting this region must be a priority to ensure the survival of red pandas in the long run.
Due to the importance of these districts, RPN has undertaken environmental awareness campaigns, outreach activities and workshops in each one to increase the public’s understanding of the plight of red pandas and the need for conservation in the region.
Prior to RPN’s arrival, the districts lacked any conservation programs, and the people didn’t have much education about red pandas. This lack of awareness has had dire consequences. The situation is especially grim in the entire western region, where red panda poaching and trafficking have increased at an alarming rate.
While challenges such as these remain, we’ve managed to accomplish a great deal, starting with our project inception activities:
- Showing of the documentary “The Forgotten Panda” to elected officials, journalists, and NGOs.
- Consultation and awareness meetings, and sharing workshops, for government agencies and various community organizations in Rural Municipalities (RMs) of all three districts.
- Students in five schools celebrated Environment Day by participating in essay-writing contests and public speaking competitions.
- More than 1,000 students from 18 schools in the three districts participated in education and outreach events
- Organized two-day training workshop on red panda surveying and monitoring techniques for Mid-Western University School of Sciences and Technology (SOST) students, government officials and representatives of 12 NGOs who learned GPS handling, local language and customs, and mapping and reporting methods.
- Established 15 monitoring blocks in five Community Forests in Jumla and Jajarkot districts for ongoing red panda habitat monitoring.
- Hired and began training 10 local individuals, who were selected by Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs,) as Forst Guardians.
- Conducted a survey to determine the extent of red panda presence in each of the three districts. as well as a survey on socioeconomic status and environmental awareness.
- Set up bulletin boards in key locations within each district that display red panda and environmental conservation messages.
- Formed and supported eco-clubs in all three districts and hired a professional columnist to train students in writing bulletin publications.
- Worked with the community as well as Divisional Forest Offices (DFOs) and CFUGs to distribute saplings in Jumla and Kalikot districts.
- Distribution of educational posters and pamphlets to community members.
Our goal is to continue our expansion in Western Nepal to the Mugu and Rolpa districts. Extending our efforts to these new districts will ensure the connectivity of three protected areas: Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Shey Phoksundo National Park and Rara National Park.
Partners in Conservation
Thank you to RPN partners who are supporting our expansion to Western Nepal.
Partners giving at $50,000 and below.